Tag Archives: Rutland

Visiting Cemeteries to Bring Life

Three years ago, some members of my family gathered in Sudbury Massachusetts to pay homage to ancestors–where they had lived and where they now lie under weathered gray stones. While there, we stayed at the  Longfellow’s Wayside Inn–in the building first built by our ancestor David How.  Numerous How/Howes,  Stones,  Bents, and other pioneers in this land were our ancestors and we discovered their names carved in stone again and again as we went visiting cemeteries.

I am terribly behind in the 52 Ancestors challenge from Amy Johnson CrowBetter late than never might not be a really good excuse when we’re talking about visiting cemeteries (Ha, Ha)–but it is the best I can do at the moment.

Sudbury Cemetery

Our little group of relatives visited the Sudbury old cemetery, where we saw a memorial to those who battled during King Philip’s war. Visiting New England cemeteries will teach you the history of the area. If you don’t come from New England, you may not even have heard of King Philip’s war, but here in one of the Puritan villages of New England that was tragically affected, the memories are as fresh as are the battles of the Revolution. Our ancestor Samuel How’s house and barn were burned down and other ancestors lost family members in the battles around Sudbury.

Sudbury Cemetery

Memorial to those who lost lives in Indian Wars Sudbury Cemetery

The wording of the memorial hints at the devastation.

“This monument is erected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of Sudbury in grateful remembrance of the services and sufferings of the founders of the state and especially in honor of Capt. S. Wadsworth of Milton. Capt. Brocklebank of Rowley. Lieut. Sharp of Brookline. and twenty-six others, men of their command, who fell near this spot on the 18th of April 1676, while defending the frontier settlements against the allied Indian forces of Philip of Pokanoket.  1852.”

Sudbury Cemetery

Monument to Sudbury men who died in King Philips War

Old Burial Ground in Rutland Massachusetts

I later took a side trip to Rutland where I discovered a forest of old gray stones.  Here while visiting cemeteries, I found more  familiar names and a memorial to those who had given their lives in the French and Indian war or the Revolution, the list included two ancestors, both named Samuel Stone.

Rutland Cemetery

Rutland Cemetery with old tree. The stones stretch back into the surrounding woods.

Memorial to Rutland's war dead

Rutland Cemetery Memorial to those who died in French-Indian War and Revolution.

“Killed or Died in Service. Not All Interred here.

French-Indian War  J. Phelps, I. Stone

Revolutionary War R. Forbus Jr., N. Laughton, I Metcalf, W. Moore, A. Phelps, B. Reed, G. Smith, S. [Samuel] Stone, Jr., S.[Samuel] Stone 3rd.”

The final two names are Samuel Stone Jr. and Samuel Stone 3rd.

Lt. Samuel Stone, 3rd , my 1st cousin 6 times removed also had a son who served in the Revolution. There are so many Samuel Stones and so many served in the militia pre-Revolution or during the revolution, that the “Jr.” and numbers are not much help. I have a Samuel Stone Jr. on my tree, but he died in Lexington rather than Rutland, so may fit the description of “not all interred here.” The Samuel Stone Jr. may refer to the son of “the 3rd,” and I have very little information on him.

On the other hand, I am quite familiar with another Samuel Stone Jr. Our 6th great-grandfather, Capt. Samuel Stone lived and died in Lexington, Massachusetts, and is the grandfather of Lt. Samuel Stone 3rd.  And you think YOU are confused???

Confusion aside, I did, however, find the gravestone in Rutland for the one designated here as “3rd.”

Lt. Samuel Stone

Lt. Samuel Stone, who died in 1775, probably not in battle, although he fought in the Revolution.

The gravestone reads:

“In memory of Lieut. Samuel Stone who decd December the 10th 1775 in the 40th year of his Age. A Kind husband and Tender Parent. Reader Behold as you pass by, as you are living so [was I], as I am now, so you must be ___________ ____ ____ Death [&] Follow [me].”

Sudbury Revolutionary War Cemetery

Sudbury Evolutionary War Cemetery

One of our family members at the entrance to Sudbury’s Revolutionary War Cemetery.

Our family group visited the Sudbury Revolutionary War cemetery where our family of Howe descendants, including a newly discovered cousin, the director of the Sudbury History Museum, gathered around the grave of our 1st cousin, 6 times removed, Col. Ezekiel Howe.

We felt close to this Ezekiel because he was the son of David Howe, our 6th great-grandfather who built the Howe (later Wayside) Inn where we were staying. Ezekiel took over the Inn when David Howe died.  His son  Ezekiel Jr., grew up at the Inn.  There is a story that Ezekiel Jr. ran the entire distance from Sudbury to Concord when the alarm went up about the battle at Concord Bridge. He was 19 at the time.

Ezekial Howe

Sudbury Historian,and family members visit Ezekiel Howe.

Unfortunately, other than his name, and death year–1796–this stone is unreadable.

My sister and I and our cousin could not resist paying a separate homage to Ezekiel Jr.’s wife Sarah, also known as Sally. We thought about the poet John Milton’s line,”they also serve who only stand and wait,” which applies to so many of the women of these villages of New England during the 1770s.

Sarah Howe

3 cousins gather with the stone of Sarah (Sally) Howe, wife of Ezekiel Howe Jr.

“Erected in memory of Mrs. Sarah How wife of Mr. Ezekial How who died July 13, 1812 in the 53 year of her age.”

Old North Cemetery, Sudbury, Massachusetts

Expecting to find some of my oldest ancestors, I also visited the Sudbury Old North Cemetery (now located in the town of Wayland). I particularly wanted to visit the grave of (Leut.) Samuel How, my 7th great-grandfather, and the father of David How. Samuel had his fingers in many pies in the development of Sudbury and surrounding communities–you can read about his wheeling and dealing here. Unfortunately, I did not locate his grave, although I have a picture of his stone from Find A Grave.com.  Samuel How was one more ancestor who was a soldier in the pre-Revolution days.

Samuel How

Samuel How, Old North Graveyard, Sudbury, MA. Photo by Charles Waid on FindaGrave.

“Here lies the body of Lieutenant Samuel How Aged 70 years Died April Ye 15th 1715.”

Old North Cemetery

Old North Cemetery, Sudbury/Wayland.

Despite the disappointment that sometimes accompanies visiting cemeteries, I found Old North fascinating.The interesting things I discovered included a separate burial ground for Native Americans–not seen in many cemeteries, and stones so old that a tree that grew between them, enfolded them in its trunk.

Old North Cemetery

Old North Cemetery, Sudbury Tree grown into tombstones

I am grateful for the nudge from the 52 Ancestors prompts to look back at my ‘visiting cemetery’ pictures.  I realized that I had a treasure trove of photos (there are many, many more than I had room for here) and I had not done anything with them.  By “anything” I mean I intend to transcribe the inscriptions, label them properly in my computer files, add them to the gallery of ancestors on my family tree at Ancestry, and check at Find a Grave to see if I have photos or information to add there. For too long, I have been a freeloader at Find a Grave–using it for my research, but rarely making additions to the information.  Now I have a chance to add some value.

I have submitted the two memorials–Sudbury’s to those who served in Kind Philip’s War and Rutland’s to those killed in the French-Indian Wars or the Revolution to the Honor Roll Project. Follow that link to see this effort to keep the names alive that are listed on the many memorials in this country and others.

That’s how visiting cemeteries can help you bring life to a cemetery.

Halloween in Graveyards

On my recent family history trip to New England, I visited several Massachusetts graveyards that are permanent home to some of my Puritan ancestors.  Since I was tromping over the grass in broad daylight, the surroundings were not as spooky as you might imagine, but I find them endlessly interesting.

The Old Rutland Burial Grounds,

In the old Rutland Cemetery, stones stretch back into the woods.

The oldest graveyard that I visited is the Rutland Old Cemetery, where burials ceased in the early 1800s. The cemetery is located on the north side of Massachusetts 122A, the main road through Rutland Massachusetts (Cradle of Ohio), beside the library.

These two stones seem to be huddled together for comfort.

Rutland Cemetery--Leaning together

Rutland Cemetery–Leaning together

The first Rutland Cemetery was laid out in 1717, and 18th and early 19th century stones are in amazingly good shape. If you can’t read an inscription, you can turn to Monumental Inscriptions in the Old Cemetery in Rutland, Worchester County, Massachusetts, published in 1902.

Some are covered by lichen, or worn by age, or have sunk into the ground.

Marker for Moses How

Here lies the body of Moses How, Esq. Born at Sudbury Aug 17th A.D. 1691 Departed this Life __Rutland Feb 16th A. D. 1749-50 in the 53th year of his age.

Some have unfamiliar language. “relict” in this case means “widow”.

Hannah Howe, widow of Moses

Erected in the memory of Hannah Howe, Relict of Moses Howe Esq who departed this life June he 7, 176_ in ye 61 year of her life. Behold….

Another very old cemetery shelters early settlers of Sudbury Massachusetts. The  North Cemetery has graves going back to the 1600s. The Cemetery lies along Sudbury Road in Wayland (which was  East Sudbury until 1835). This is the site of the 2nd Sudbury Meeting House, includes a cemetery for Indians, and a gate connects it to one of Sudbury’s Jewish cemeteries.

These two have been joined together by the tree that grew up between them, and enfolded one of them in its ridges.

Old North Cemetery

Old North Cemetery, Sudbury Tree grown into tombstones

Many tombstones in Sudbury and Rutland have the simple line drawing of a face that you can see on the ones above. Others have slightly more elaborate illustrations of urns with decorative leaves and flowers.  But my favorite thing is reading the poetry.

Erected in memory of Mrs. Sarah How wife of Lieut Calvin How, who died March 24th 1800 in he 24th year of her age. "Retire my friend Dry up your tears Here I must lie til Christ appears." Rutland Old Cemetery

Erected in memory of Mrs. Sarah How wife of Lieut Calvin How, who died March 24th 1800 in he 24th year of her age. “Retire my friend Dry up your tears Here I must lie til Christ appears.” Rutland Old Cemetery

Happy Halloween. Why not spend your Halloween in Graveyards?

Killed in Indian Wars: 52 Ancestors, #41: Sarah Howe Joslin

In 1692, Elizabeth Howe Keyes, grand daughter of the pioneering John Howe, and daughter of his son John Jr., decided to leave her home in Marlborough and visit her sister Sarah Howe Joslin, who lived in Lancaster, Massachusetts with her husband and children.

As the sisters visited, Sarah’s four children playing around the cabin, the family story says that Elizabeth was singing. Sarah’s husband would have been working in the fields. The women were interrupted, apparently without warning, by a war party of Indians.  Imagine the chaos and terror as the warriors killed Sarah and three of her children on the spot. Then they disappeared back into the woods, taking one of the children and Elizabeth Howe Keyes with them.

The child was killed soon after, but as the story goes, the Indians were charmed by Elizabeth’s singing, and they kept her with them as they fled to Canada.  She was held captive for three years, but finally released.  Her husband had become a recluse when Elizabeth was captured, and swore never to marry.  When she returned to him, the family moved to a new town, but he said that she never fully recovered from the trauma. So she was a different kind of victim of the Indian Wars.

The struggles between early settlers in the United States and the indigenous people is difficult to discuss calmly, even today. An estimate in 1894 by the census bureau estimated that 19,000 “white” people died and 30,000 Indians in the various Indian Wars.  Of course even before the most deadly battles, Indians had died in another war–attacked by viruses they were unable to fight off. Some think at least 80% died of smallpox caught from the newcomers to the continent.  So they were greatly reduced in numbers by the time the European population increase incited conflict over land.

I have great sympathy with the indigenous people. However, I also sympathize with the Puritan settlers. To understand historic events, it is essential to look at events of the past through the lens of their own time–not imposing our own different points of view. Our culture and mores are as different from the Puritans of New England as the Puritans were from the people they called savages. And I dare say that people of Native American heritage today are also far removed from the worldview of their ancestors, even though they may be working to keep their culture and religion alive.

Indian Wars Monument

Marker in honor of settlers and veterans of Indian Wars, Sudbury Cemetery

Indian Wars Monument

Inscription on Indian Wars Monument in Sudbury, MA

Glance through diaries and histories written in the 18th and 19th centuries, and you get a one-sided view–all anti-Indian. Look at the lives of the settlers and you may begin to realize why they held the views they did.

When you visit the graveyards of Puritan New England you will see many people who died at the hands of Indians. Some of those were militia members who set out to chase the native tribes from the lands wanted by the settlers.  But many were women and children, like Sarah Howe Joslin and her children, victims of terror raids staged by hostile bands who believed they could frighten the interlopers into returning to Europe.

The Howe family suffered an extraordinary number of losses, both in lives and property, in battles and in surprise raids on families.

The following is not an exhaustive list of Howe family members affected, and other ancestors in other lines also died or lost property.

In addition to the 1692 death of Sarah Howe Joslin and capture of Elizabeth:

April 20, 1676 saw the most vicious fight of the King Phillip War–an attack on Sudbury by 1000 Indian fighters and a day-long battle leaving hundreds dead and houses and barns burned to the ground.

  • John Howe, Jr., a member of the militia, killed at thirty-six years old and his house destroyed in the battle of Sudbury.
  • Samuel Howe, a member of the militia, his house and other property burned in the battle of Sudbury.
  • The people of Sudbury were so destitute that they wrote to the Irish Charities for donations to help people who had lost their homes and livelihoods.

Nehemiah Howe, a son of Samuel Howe, was captured by Indians in 1747 and held in Canada, where he wrote a journal before he died in captivity in Canada*–never returning home.

[UPDATE May 2018] Nehemiah’s son Caleb How married a widow, Jemima Phips.  In a 1755 raid by Indians, Jemima How was captured and in June of that year scalped and killed.

Israel Howe, a member of the militia, killed in a raid on the town of Rutland at thirty-six years old in 1748. Israel Howe was my 5th great-grandfather and the son of Samuel Howe.

Other relatives in Rutland, MA, some other Howes, some Stones, some Hubbards, were also in harms way during the Indian Wars and a memorial in the old Cemetery in Rutland commemorates them.

Indian Wars

Memorial to first settlers and veterans of the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars, Rutland MA Old Cemetery.

How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson), was the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel How, and John Jr. (My 7th Great Grand Uncle), the son of
  • John How
  • Sarah How (Joslin) and Elizabeth How (Keyes), daughters of John Howe, Jr. (My first cousins, 8 x removed.)

Notes on Research

As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.

*A Narrative of the Captivity of Nehemiah How. Republished in 1904 and available on Archive.or

FindaGrave.com and personal visits to cemeteries of Sudbury and Rutland.